Report Details Productivity Lost Due to Smoking Deaths
July 15, 2005 -- Deaths caused by smoking cost the United States about $92 billion in lost productivity between 1997-2001, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This amount is up nearly $10 billion from the estimates for 1995-1999. Combined with smoking-related health care expenses, that figure jumps to $167 billion per year.
The report says that on average, smoking reduces life expectancy by approximately 14 years. Smoking, which can cause respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and other health problems, is responsible for 440,000 deaths each year in the United States.
A 2001 Institute of Medicine report examined pharmaceutical and modified tobacco products designed to reduce the health risks of smoking and found that these items cannot yet be proved to reduce tobacco-related disease. Clearing the Smoke: Assessing the Science Base for Tobacco Harm Reduction (2001) outlines how tried-and-true public health tools -- research, surveillance, communication, and regulation -- should be used to ensure that the availability of these products confers less risk to the individual and to the population as a whole compared with conventional tobacco products. It recommends a regulatory strategy to prevent cigarettes with greater toxicity than those sold today from entering the market and to gather complete information about new harm reduction products.
Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Early Detection (2003) concludes that to save the most lives from cancer, health care providers, insurers, employers, policy-makers, and researchers should concentrate their resources on helping people to stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight and diet, exercise regularly, control alcohol consumption, and get screened for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer.